AUSTRALIA – The Australian Steel Institute (ASI) has urged the nation’s government to ban unprocessed ferrous scrap export, saying processing the scrap locally will help steelmakers reach decarbonization goals.
In a presentation to the Federal Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water last month (November 2022), ASI sustainability national manager Michael Dawson said the domestic steel industry has prioritized the increased use of scrap as one of the enablers in its decarbonization pathways.
Dawson said higher local scrap use decreased the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the iron and steelmaking process and reduced reliance on iron ore and coking coal.
The addition of the ban using existing Commonwealth legislation would prevent the dumping of hazard-containing material offshore and protect the sovereign capability of Australia’s steel manufacturing.
Dawson further added that there is currently a shortage of domestic processed ferrous scrap, with local steel producers forced to source more than 500,000 tonnes of ferrous scrap from a combination of interstate and overseas sources.
“This is occurring at the same time as 1.07 million tonnes of unprocessed ferrous scrap is being exported from Australia annually,” he said.
“As a result, we are confronted by a bizarre situation whereby locally we’re underutilizing our national scrap processing capacity as our steel mills are importing processed ferrous scrap, to meet the increasing demand for steel – which is essentially adding to the carbon footprint of the supply chain and putting at risk our capacity to decrease our GHG emissions in the near term through insuring supply of adequate domestic scrap.”
According to Dawson, making a change to existing Commonwealth legislation banning export of the scrap would reap significant benefits for local steel manufacturing capacity and its decarbonization efforts.
“It would free up an extra 800,000 tonnes of processed scrap to the domestic market, decrease our sector’s GHG emissions by approximately 1.5 m/ts CO2e,” explained Dawson.
“This will prevent the arm to offshore environment by banning the dumping of Australia’s unprocessed scrap waste. It’s a win, win, win.”
The call comes at a time when the market size of the Scrap Metal Recycling industry in Australia valued at US$4.4 billion is expected to decline -12.5% in 2023, according to IBISWorld.
For all the latest packaging and printing industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.